Title: The Silent Dolls
Author: Rita Herron
Silent tears trickle down her cheeks as she curls inside the tiny cave-like space. She lies on her side, darkness all around her, rubbing her fingers over the little wooden doll he’d carved. He told her to be quiet, not to cry or scream. Not to be a baby. Her throat was raw, her eyes swollen shut. She wanted her mommy and daddy. She wanted to go home.
When Penny Matthews, a seven-year-old girl with blonde curls and a gap-toothed smile, goes missing in the Appalachian mountains, Detective Ellie Reeves is called straight to the scene. According to Penny’s parents, their daughter vanished after a picnic by the creek. All that’s left behind is a pink friendship bracelet etched with “Penny”.
Ellie knows all too well that the mountains’ endless miles of dark forest and winding rivers are the perfect place for a criminal to hide. Racing against the rapidly setting sun and a brutal winter storm on the horizon, she searches desperately for Penny.
Special Agent Derrick Fox is determined to join the hunt. His younger sister, Kim, disappeared in the same area twenty-five years ago––on the day he was meant to be watching her. He’s certain the cases are linked and that over a dozen girls have vanished in the last decade. Ellie refuses to believe that their tight-knit mountain community could be home to a deadly criminal, but even she can’t deny the similarities in the cases. And when they discover the remains of a small body buried with a carved wooden doll, it’s clear they’re up against a deadly serial killer preying on innocent little girls.
As the temperature plunges, Penny’s life hangs in the balance. Most people who get lost in the woods never make it out alive. Can Ellie and Derrick defy the odds and find out the truth about all the stolen girls? Or will the mountain, and its twisted killer, claim another victim?
When seven year old, Penny Matthews, goes missing on the Appalachian Trail, Detective Ellie Reeves is put on the case. Is the little girl lost or did her parents have something to do with her disappearance? When Special Agent Derrick Fox hears the broadcast on the news for Penny, the disappearance suddenly takes a turn. Derrick’s sister went missing on the trail twenty five years ago and since that time more and more girls have gone missing. Is there a serial killer on the loose targeting young children? Teaming up together, Ellie and Derrick are in a race against time to find Penny before a brutal storm hits the East Coast.
The opening chapter of The Silent Dolls by Rita Herron just captured my attention immediately and gave me the chills. I am definitely not a fan of cold dark places and I kind of got creeped out. The further you go along in the story it never really loses its intensity either, so I was pretty much hooked right from the jump. There are secrets to be revealed, and plenty of suspects, I went back and forth on wondering if one of them was indeed our evil culprit.
Ellie is such an interesting character. She is fierce, loyal, determined, great at her job and yet she is also sensitive, has fears, family problems and a host of other things that make her stand out as a real person. She knows just how dangerous the Appalachian Trail is as she had her own nightmare on the trail when she was just a child herself. But, she tries to not let her fears get in the way of finding Penny.
The Silent Dolls by Rita Herron is the first book in the Detective Ellie Reeves series. It is a riveting, powerful story that is expertly crafted and hair raising. I had chills in multiple parts of this story and definitely could not put this book down. This is a well deserved Five Star read and I am definitely looking forward to the second book in the series.
USA Today Bestselling and award-winning author Rita Herron fell in love with books at the ripe age of eight when she read her first Trixie Belden mystery. But she didn’t think real people grew up to be writers, so she became a teacher instead. Now she writes so she doesn’t have to get a real job.
With over ninety books to her credit, she’s penned romantic suspense, romantic comedy, and YA novels, but she especially likes writing dark romantic suspense and crime fiction set in small southern towns.
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